Junpei crept down the stairs of the dorm, breath heavy in the silence of the wee hours of the morning, a cold sweat trickling down his back. He’d had nightmares before like anyone else, was no stranger to them since April, as a matter of fact, but this one had taken the cake. Oddly enough, it wasn’t about huge Shadows that loomed over him while he stood frozen and crushed him under their weight, suffocating him (until he woke with his face in his pillow). It wasn’t even about Hermes suddenly bursting out of him à la Aliens (he swore off the Wild Duck Burger Deluxe Special after that one) or him finally reaching the top of Tartarus... only for the wind to push him slowly but inexorably over the edge until he fell 500 storeys down to his messy, purée’d doom (he was still wondering where that one had came from. He wasn’t afraid of heights).
He paused at the bottom of the stairs and whirled around, heart thundering in his ears. He could have sworn he had heard something. After a tense but otherwise silent moment in the sleeping dorm, he wiped his forehead. Man, he would have never thought a simple dream about a child standing in his locked room and staring at him, motionless, with all the intensity a child could muster, could be so scary. And that giggling… he still shivered when he thought about it. Good thing the kid was gone the second he had turned the light on because otherwise he was pretty sure he would have thrown everything within reach at him. Damn. As soon as he got back to his room, he was taking his sword out from under the bed.
Junpei walked into the restroom and relieved his bladder, then washed his hands before splashing some water on his face to clear his mind. He suddenly frowned at his reflection. Wait a minute… he reached out and turned the light on in his dream… then he was awake and the light was on too? How could he have turned on the light in his sleep?
That’s when he spotted it. A blond child in a perfectly pressed black suit staring at him eerily, his expression blank. Junpei swallowed and moved very, very slowly to stand straight. If the other child had looked like it was just going to stab him in the neck and giggle while he did it, this one just looked like he would tear his guts open with his bare hands and eat them while Junpei watched. Even Hermes felt like it was recoiling in fear inside him. He spun around to try and kick the kid and make a dash for the door… but there was no one standing behind him. Quickly, he looked back into the mirror.
The child was still there… and closer.
Junpei ran out of the restroom like his boxers were on fire, nearly flying up the stairs to go pound on Akihiko’s door.
The blond child exited the restroom calmly and glanced at the other, smiling child who joined him, walking in from the lobby.
“Wasn’t that amusing?” Pharos asked, still smiling, as the pounding stopped and Akihiko’s angry voice rose in the dorm, followed by Naoki’s.
Lucifer let out a small, noncommittal noise. “Personally," he said in a voice too low for a child his apparent age, "I like to bestow incommensurable powers on them and watch their sanity unravel.”
Pharos’ smile fell. “But that’s… evil.”
“It can also yield great entertainment when they overcome the trials.” A faint, smug smile stretched the small Lucifer’s lips. “I know of such a boy. He never ceases to amuse.”
“Oh.” Pharos’ smile returned as the boy seemed relieved. “Maybe we should pay him a visit then?”
“Perhaps,” Lucifer agreed as Akihiko and Naoki, looking particularly annoyed, marched down the stairs, weapons in hand, heading for the boys’ restroom. He did not worry; though their powers were growing, especially the one with the blank face, they were not nearly strong enough for them to see Lucifer if he did not wish them too, and Pharos either. “I have not seen him in quite a while. He must miss me.”
Pharos’ giggles resonated in the empty lobby, but only he and Lucifer heard. “Sounds fun. I think we’ve traumatized this one for at least a week. We can come back later.”
“Or select a more… challenging target next time," Lucifer suggested as he eyed the grumbling Akihiko exiting the restroom. "Regardless, let us go now.”
Pharos grinned and grabbed Lucifer’s hand in his.
“And please stop doing that.”